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US asks Islamic Front rebels in Syria for stolen equipment back

Vehicles and communications gear was seized by the powerful Islamist group

Washington would like the Islamic Front rebels in Syria to return the equipment it stole from Western-backed opposition fighters last week, a senior US official has said.

The material, which included vehicles and communications gear, had been supplied to the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of Syrian opposition fighters, but was seized by the powerful Islamist group from warehouses at the Syria-Turkey border. The theft prompted Britain and the US to suspend non-lethal aid to Western-backed rebels in northern Syria.

The official said the Obama administration is willing to consider supporting an expanded Syrian rebel coalition that would include Islamist groups, provided the groups are not allied with al-Qa’ida and agree to support upcoming peace talks in Geneva. The Islamic Front is not affiliated to al-Qa’ida.

“We don’t have a problem with the Islamic Front,” the official, who wished to remain anonymous, said, adding that “we want our stuff back”.

© The Washington Post